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PE - 3/26/08 - FFRH

YSU Percussion Ensemble

DeYor Performing Arts Center Ford Family Recital Hall

March 26, 2008 8:00pm 

Robert Ferguson and Josh Ryan, Directors 

Brian Sweigart, Graduate Assistant


Bicksa(1991)                                                                                                                                                 Thom Hasenpflug(b.1966)

Bicksa is a very aggressive work for written for four multi-percussionists.  Thom Hasenflug composed this work in 1994 in Ithaca, Ney York and was premiered by the Ithaca percussion ensemble.  Bicksa contains continuous metric changes as well as complex rhythmic counterpoint that repeatedly resolves into intense vertical rhythmic resolutions.  The reoccurring unison punctuations in cymbals throughout the piece provide a motive from which everything else originates.  Bicksa can be found on Thom Hasenflug’s first CD, HasenProject.


Chamade Suite(1994)                                                                                                                                                Igor Lesnik(b.1956)

            I. Chamade

            II. Retraite

            III. Diane

Chamade is an old French military expression for a drum (or trumpet) signal indicating a cease fire. Retraite and Diane could be translated from French to English as “Taps” amd “Morning Call.”  This suite is in fact a concert version of a series of drum signals composd for the Croatian Army.


Earth Dances(1991)                                                                                                                                                            Frank Wiley(b.1949)

Earth Dances was composed in 1991 by Frank Wiley, a composition professor at Kent State University, and received its premier performance by the Univeristy of Kentucky percussion ensemble.  Earth Dances is a large multi-percussion work that employs five players with extensive multi-instrument setups.  While each player utilizes one pitched percussion instrument, Wiley does not center this piece on a specific melodic or harmonic idea, but rather uses the pitch material as a progressive development throughout the score.  In addition to the use of melodic instruments, Earth Dances contains some unique effect sounds as well as the use of timbrack notation where non-melodic percussion instruments are arrange and played in a keyboard format.  While Wiley has written numerous works that contain percussion, Earth Dances continues to be his most played percussion compostion.


Perfectly Frank                                                                                                                                                       Daniel Levitan(b.1953)

Composed in honor of Afro-Cuban percussionist Frank Malabe, Perfectly Frank is a tour of rumba and other modern Afro-Cuban dance styles for percussion quintet.  The solo voices are the marimba and conga drums, both of which quote traditional Cuban musical genres.


Shadow Chasers (1994)                                                                                                                                   Michael Burritt(b.1962)

Rob Ferguson, marimba

Shadow Chasers was composed in 1994 by marimbist Michael Burritt and serves as the title track to his second solo CD.  This work is written for solo marimba and four multi-percussionists.  The piece features both intense rhythmic passages as well as opportunities for improvisation on the part of each performer.  Shadow Chasers was premiered in the summer of 1994 at the Leigh Howard Stevens Marimba Seminar and continues to be one of the premier works for solo marimba and percussion.




Kinka                                                                                                                                                                       Ewe Traditional, Ghana

Kinka is dance music of the Ewe people of Southeastern Ghana and Togo. Kinka is a conversation between the Astimevu ("lead drum") and a variety of supporting instruments.  Each rhythmic cue posed by the lead drum has specific responses from the supporting parts.  Once the responses are established, the lead drum may improvize while taking care not to occupy the rhythmic space of the supporting parts.  There are countless such musical conversation in Kinka.  Presented in this performance is an excerpt of Kinka, played on traditional instruments.


Layers(1992)                                                                                                                                                     Lynn Glassock(b.1946)

This piece for eight percussionists illustrates contrapuntal writing for pitched and un-pitched percussion. The composition is written in various “layers” of melodic, rhythmic, and timbral material.


Bluebird Samba (1994)                                                                                                                                    Ted Rounds

Bluebird Samba is a tune in Eb, later in F, and in Eb again at the end. The other two themes were just separate material I was working on during the same time. The minimalist transitions were just convenient diversions to get to the different key centers for the tune. I thought the thing sounded like a samba, so that had to be part of the title somehow. On the day I quit writing the piece (you have to actually quit writing) Tyler was building a bluebird house and after she put one up, she declared that the next day there would be bluebirds living there. Sure enough, the next day there they were. Tyler was the one who actually said I should call it Bluebird Samba. It has some cool chords and some nice jagged lines. Parts of the main theme are presented over different bass lines with alternate key centers, just to see how they worked. There is a short madness that was inspired by Frank Zappa (groups of fives followed by sextuplets in groups of four.

         As with all my writing, I have my intentions but I'm always surprised by what comes out. That's partly because I usually compose by means of improvisation. I'll compose an accompaniment sequence that the computer loops while I improvise on a percussion controller that feeds into the same computer. If I like it, it stays. If I don't, it goes into electronic storage for another day.-Ted Rounds


A Terrible Beauty(1991)                                                                                                                                          Roger Braun(b.1968)

The novel Trinity by Leon Uris, paints a haunting picture of the beginnings of revolution in the late nineteenth century. Uris describes Ireland as “a terrible beauty” – a country of beautiful landscapes, people, and heritage, yet a country plagued by extreme poverty and political and religious problems. This extreme two-sidedness of Irelenad provided the inspiration for the music. – Roger Braun


Rob Ferguson is currently serving in his fourth year on the percussion faculty at Youngstown State University.  Ferguson has been the director of Matrix Indoor Drumline since its conception in 1999 and currently serves as the Executive Director, and Music Designer.  In addition, Rob is currently the co-percussion caption head for the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps.  Ferguson also serves as the assistant marching band director at Youngstown State University.  In addition to his teaching, he is an active composer, arranger and designer in both the indoor and outdoor marching activities for high school, college, and independent programs.  Ferguson is also active as a program consultant for numerous high school programs throughout Ohio and Indiana in both the concert and marching genres.  Ferguson has been a guest soloist and clinician on marimba at many universities and high schools in Ohio, Indiana, Texas and Pennsylvania.  He has also presented educational clinics on marching percussion, teaching percussion in the public schools, and amplification throughout the United States including a presentation at the 2007 Percussive Arts Society International Convention.  Ferguson holds both his bachelors and masters degrees in percussion performance from Kent State University where is primary teachers included Michael Burritt and Ted Rounds.  He is currently serving his sixth term as a percussion representative to Mid East Performance Association Board of Directors.  Rob is currently an endorser for Innovative Percussion, Dynasty USA, Remo, and Sabian.  Rob currently resides in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio with his wife Kate.

Josh Ryan is an Associate Professor of music and chair of the winds/percussion department at Baldwin-Wallace College.  Josh teaches percussion, percussion methods, and directs the percussion ensemble.  A versatile performer and clinician, Josh is an active musician in many genres.  He has been the principal timpanist of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Maryland Symphony, Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.  Josh has also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he founded the Summer Percussion Camp.

Josh has studied African music in Ghana, West Africa with the Agbeli family and is also a student of Valerie Naranjo.  He has traveled to Cuba to study with Regino Jimenez and Daniel Alfonso.  he is also a long-time student of Afro-Cuban percussionist Michael Spiro and has recently co-authored a book with him.  A frequent clinician in non-Western styles of music, Mr. Ryan teaches workshops for music educators throughout the country and is a frequent clinician at music education conferences.

Josh is co-founder of the Africa->¨West Percussion trio, a professional percussion ensemble in residence at Baldwin-Wallace College.  The trio recently released it's second CD, Togo Road, and performed at the Percussive Arts Society INternational Convention.  Active in new music featuring percussion instruments, he regularly performs as a solo marimbist/percussionist and chamber musician.

Mr. Ryan received his M.M. in percussion performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music.  His bachelor's degrees are in music and government from Lawrence University, where he has also been a faculty member.   

YSU Percussion Studio 


Brian Sweigart, Streetsboro 


Dean Anshutz, Creston

Tim Hampton, Lakewood

Tyler Husosky, Warren

Michael Anderson, Willoughby 


Mario Butera, Carnegie, PA

Cory Doran, Columbus

Shawn Logan, Akron

Zachary Taylor, Bloomingdale


Kevin Rabold, Pittsburgh, PA 


Joshua Colson, Transfer, PA

Justin Fujka, Bryan

Christina Niemeyer, Findlay

Joe Werhnyak, Enon Valley, PA

Gino West, Poland,

Robert Young, Austintown

Eric Zalenski, Bloomingdale


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